Disclaimer: Alas, I own nothing. Not Lorelai. Not Rory. Not Luke (wipes away a tear). Nothing.
Chapter 2- Breakfast
Luke poured Lorelai a cup of coffee before getting a glass of orange juice and sitting across from her at the small table. Every morning, after feeding and sending their children to school, Luke and Lorelai would retreat upstairs to his old apartment to share an intimate, quiet breakfast before having to rush off for a long, busy day at work. They didn't always talk to each other during this time. They would just sit and enjoy each other's company without having to rush off to pry their kids apart or clean up whatever they just broke in the other room. In fact, they only held a conversation an average of two out of the five days they shared these breakfasts. The only sounds heard were the utensils clinking against the plates and bowls and the crunching sound Luke's Cheerios made as he ate them. In fact, they held a conversation an average of two out of the five days they shared these breakfast. Today seemed to be one of the days they didn't speak. That is, until Lorelai broke the silence.
"Dad came over before you got home last night," Lorelai said suddenly.
"Yeah? How's he holding up?" Luke asked.
"He's doing better." She looked down and played with the bacon and eggs on her plate. "He's thinking of coming out of retirement."
He froze and looked up at his wife, his spoonful of Cheerios in mid air. "Are you serious? He wants to come out of retirement again?"
"Yeah. Mr. Stiles let him keep the Gilmore Center, so he thought he'd open new offices…here…in Stars Hollow."
Luke put his spoon back into his bowl. "You mean to tell me your seventy-eight year old father is going to come out of retirement and open new offices in this town?"
"He needs something to do," she nearly snapped, feeling slightly angry that Luke sounded like he disapproved. "He needs to stay active and keep himself busy. With Mom go…" Lorelai stopped herself from finishing her sentence. It was still too painful to say. Her voice softened. "He needs something to do and he likes to work, so he's going to open offices here so he can be closer to us." She looked down at her plate again and took a few deep breaths.
Luke reached across the table and held Lorelai's hand. "I didn't mean for it to sound like I didn't want Richard to come out of retirement. I think it's a great idea. He does need something to do to keep his mind off of things and this way we can see him everyday instead of just Friday night."
Lorelai looked up. "You really think it's a good idea?"
"I think it's what Emily would have wanted."
She smiled weakly. "Thank you."
He gave her hand a squeeze. "Anytime." He took his hand back and started to munch on his cereal. "Has he started to look for office space?"
"I don't think so."
"Well, I can take an afternoon off and help him look around."
"Really? Aw Luke, that'd mean a lot to me."
"Just say the word and I'm there."
"Ok. I'll give him a call today and set it up." She stood and put her jacket on.
"You have to go already?"
"Unfortunately. I'll call you later?"
"Yeah," he sighed as he stood. "I'll see you at lunch?"
"You're bringing it to the inn?"
"I'll see you then." Luke put his arm around Lorelai's waist and pulled her in for a kiss. "You bring the food and I'll bring the dessert. Am I'm not talking about cake."
"Dirty. I'll see you later Crazy Lady."
"Until then Coffee Man. One more for the road." She kissed him one more time before walking out the door.
Across town, Logan and Rory were also having breakfast together in silence. Their silence wasn't anything like Luke and Lorelai's. It was an unwelcome silence full of awkwardness and tension. When Emily's condition got worse, Rory spent less and less time on her articles. Logan understood she needed to be with her grandmother and time to mourn after her passing. As a husband, he supported his wife's decision to take extra time off. But as her boss, he felt the weight she left behind. He desperately picked up the slack in his offices and tried to fill in the open column she left. He spent longer hours at the office and came home cranky and irritated. They didn't speak at breakfast because they both knew they were walking on thin ice. The slightest misunderstanding would blow up horribly in their faces.
"How's Richard?" Logan asked, hoping to have found a safe subject.
"He's fine," Rory replied. "He's coming out of retirement."
"Anything new happening with the kids' school?"
"Hope's in the school play. They're doing Fiddler on the Roof."
"That's good. When is it?"
"In three weeks. Friday night."
"I'll try to make it." Rory nodded. "So…when do you plan on coming back to work?"
Rory let out a sigh. "I don't know."
"You've been saying that for two weeks."
"My grandmother just died Logan."
"The standard leave for this type of situation is one week, two tops. You haven't been to work in a month."
"I'm not ready."
"Your mother's already working again. And from what I hear, your grandfather is planning to come out of retirement."
"What do you want me from me?"
"I want you to come back to work. I can't keep picking up the slack. Typical leave is two weeks Rory. As your boss, I'm asking you to come back."
"I'm your wife!"
"And you've been using that to your own advantage. You're slipping up just because you go to bed with me every night." Logan regretted saying that the second it came out of his mouth. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said that. We're both really stressed out right now…"
"I don't want to go back to work. Not now, not ever."
"I'm sorry," Logan said as he scratched his head. "What?"
"I don't want to work anymore."
"You don't wanna work anymore?"
"Why the hell not?"
"'Because' isn't an answer Rory." When Rory said nothing, Logan grew angry and began to shout. "I can't do this alone Rory! I can't support this family by myself! You swore to me I wouldn't have to."
"I'm sorry! I'm sorry ok?"
"No. It's not ok! When we got married you loved your job! We traveled the world and you wrote amazing articles that blew people away. What happened? What happened to the passionate woman I married?"
Rory shook her head. "I don't know. I'm sorry. I…I can't." She stood and quickly left the room, leaving a dumbfounded Logan alone at the table.
Luke walked home after Lane helped him close up for the night. After all these years, Lane Kim-Rygalski was still working for him. When he got home, Will and Emma were sitting on the couch watching TV. They turned around when they heard their father enter the house.
"Hey Daddy," Emma greeted.
"Hey sweetie," Luke said as he walked over to the couch. "Whatcha watching?"
"Some old show that was on before we were born," Will replied. "The Outer Limits or something. It's weird."
"I used to watch that show when I was…" Luke trailed off before his kids thought their dad was a geek- well, bigger geek. "Where's Lana and Richie?"
"Upstairs in their rooms. I think Richie's sleeping," Emma replied.
"You guys hungry?"
"I cooked something," Will said, his attention on the TV.
"Your mom eat?"
"Nope," Emma replied.
"Ok. Thanks for taking care of things guys. I appreciate it." Luke sighed as he took a seat in his reclining chair. "With everything going on…it's hard you know? We're all trying to get through this in our own way. I know I haven't been spending a lot of time with you guys lately and I'm sorry if you feel like I'm ignoring you or neglecting you." Will and Emma stared at their father. "If you guys need to, um, talk… about, uh, stuff…I'm…"
"We know Pop," Will interrupted. "We're fine."
"Ok." Luke walked over to the couch and kissed each of his kids on top of their heads. "I love you guys. Remember that ok?"
"Always Daddy," Emma smiled.
"Don't stay up too late. It's a school night."
With that, Luke went upstairs to check on his two youngest children and his wife. His first stop was Lana's room. He tapped on the door with the sign "Lana" hanging on it. He waited a few seconds before walking into his youngest daughter's room.
Alana Grace Danes was Luke and Lorelai's eight year old daughter. When Lorelai was pregnant with Lana, Rory, Sookie, Joan, Lane, and Rachel were also pregnant. It was hell on Luke, Logan, Jackson, Jess, and Max. Because all their wives were pregnant, they couldn't hide at each other's houses from the crazy pregnant women. The six children were born within three weeks of each other. Lorelai, Sookie, and Lane had girls and Rory, Joan, and Rachel had boys.
Luke walked over to Lana's form, laying on her side facing the opposite wall and wrapped up in her Disney Princess comforter. "Hey, Lana booger, you awake?" he called softly.
"I'm not a booger Daddy!" Lana laughed as she faced her father.
"And you're not sleeping either."
"I was waiting for you. You were supposed to read me a bedtime story."
"I know. I'm sorry. Would you like me to read you one now?"
"It's ok. Mommy read to me already. She's funny."
"So I hear. How about I read to you tomorrow night?"
"Cross my heart."
"It's a date." Luke pulled the covers over her and kissed her forehead. "Night cupcake."
"Night Daddy." Luke turned off the light before leaving the room.
Then it was off to Richie's room. Luke and Lorelai had planned to stop having children after Lana, but four years after Lana was born, when Lorelai was in her late forties and Luke fifty, they were surprised to find out that Lorelai was once again pregnant. Richard Charles Danes, better known as Richie or Chip, was their miracle baby. Because of his parents' age, doctors didn't think he would survive. They didn't even think Lorelai would carry him to term. Lorelai did carry the baby the nine month term, but not without complications. There had been trouble during the actual birth.
Lorelai went into labor and constantly said she was in terrible pain. Luke tried to comfort his wife, by holding her hand and kissing her as he told her everything was going to be fine. When they were in the delivery room, the doctors said something about having trouble getting the baby out. Then they kicked Luke out of the room. He had never been so scared in his life than that very moment. First the doctor said something about the possibility of the baby being a still born. Then they said the baby might survive, but they could lose Lorelai. And at one point, the most frightening to Luke, the doctors said that they could lose both Lorelai and the baby. He nearly died the moment they told him. He yelled at the doctors to allow him to be with his wife, but he, like the others, would have to wait in the waiting room for the news.
Of course, both Lorelai and the baby had survived. Unfortunately, because his parents were at an age where they shouldn't have children and the difficult pregnancy, Richie was born with a hearing impairment. He wasn't completely deaf, but it was hard for him to hear things. Everything sounded distant and muffled, like he was underwater. He and his family learned to do sign language in case Richie's disability got worse or he didn't learn to speak. When Richie spoke, he sounded as clear as any child his age. He signed more than he spoke and when he did speak, it wasn't much. Sometimes, he looked lost and scared. There had even been times he'd sit on the floor, hug his knees, and cry until Luke or Lorelai came to get him.
Luke walked into the bedroom to find Richie fast asleep. He was laying across the middle of h is bed so Luke went to straighten him up and tuck him in. Richie woke in the process. He looked up at Luke with his bright blue eyes and blinked a few times before smiling.
"I didn't mean to wake you up," Luke apologized. "Just go back to sleep ok?"
Richie raised an eyebrow, telling his father he didn't hear what he had just said. Luke signed what he had said and Richie nodded. Luke signed "Good night" and "I love you" and Richie returned the gesture. Luke placed a kiss on Richie's cheek before leaving the room.
Luke headed to the master bedroom down the hall. Lorelai was already in bed reading a magazine. She looked up when she heard him come in. She watched him as he undressed and put on a clean shirt and sweats. They talked about their day and about what was going on in their children's lives. Soon, they decided to turn in and said good night. Luke turned off the lamp on his night stand and let out a sigh when he finally got comfortable. He shut his eyes and tried to fall asleep. Lorelai, on the other hand, continued to stare at her husband.
"Luke?" she called.
"Yeah?" he asked, not opening his eyes.
"I wanna go first."
"Go where?" She said nothing, but the idea soon sank into his mind. His eyes flew open and he immediately sat up. "Lorelai…"
"That time you took me to the hospital to see my dad after he had a heart attack at the family Christmas party, Mom told him she wanted to go first. Well, I want to go first."
"You can't call dying first. It doesn't work that way."
"I don't wanna go through what Dad is going through now." Lorelai was near tears. "He's miserable Luke. He misses Mom so much."
Luke held Lorelai. "Sh. It's ok. It's ok honey."
"I don't wanna know what that feels like Luke. Never."
"You won't. I promise, you won't. Tell you what. Why don't we go together?"
Lorelai pulled away from Luke and looked up at him hopefully. "Can we do that?"
"Our love can do anything we want. And if we want to die with each other, then we will."
Lorelai rested her head on Luke's shoulder and hugged his torso. "I love you Luke."
"I love you too Lorelai." He kissed the top of her head and held her until she fell asleep.
Next time on "Breakaway": Luke helps Richard look for office space in Stars Hollow. Lorelai finds out Logan and Rory are fighting, but doesn't know why. Will gets into trouble at school. Emma becomes interested in the new bag boy at Doose's- who she later finds out is off limits.
A/N: One of Richard II's nick names is Chip so if any of the characters talk to Richie and call him "Chip", know it's Richie. If you're wondering where I got Chip from, it's from Charles. I have a friend named Charles and we called him Chip for some reason. Ok and as for the Luke thing…ok I can't say anything without giving away too much. Just know I LOVE LUKE and I wouldn't just kill him off. Hint (not really): Keep Luke's little speech toward the end in mind.